1962 Corvette

If the 1961 Corvette was good, the 1962 Corvette was even better. With still more power and even cleaner looks, it ranks as perhaps the most desirable Corvette between 1957 and 1963. The car's base price broke the $4,000 barrier for the first time, at $4,038. A heater was finally made standard for 1962, more than negating the price increase over the previous year's model, but it could be deleted if so desired, which was intended for racing purposes.

The 1962 Corvette featured a blacked-out grille, simple vents, ribbed rocker-panel trim, and a monochromatic color scheme.
The 1962 Corvette's look featured a blacked-out grille, simple vents
instead of chrome windsplits in the "coves," ribbed rocker-panel trim,
and a monochromatic color scheme.

Though the basic styling of the C1 generation was beginning to look a bit dated, the last of its worst excesses disappeared on this final variation. The most obvious deletion was the chrome outline around the bodyside coves, which also shed their triple chrome accent spears in favor of more conservative ribbed aluminum appliques, which were finished in black for subtlety. Omitting the coves' optional two-tone treatment only enhanced this more cohesive look. Other elements were similarly refined. The previous silver mesh grille and its flanking cutouts were now finished in black, as was the background of the trunklid medallion. Narrow-band whitewalls were in vogue that year and looked great on the Corvette. The only place where any form of decoration was added was to the rocker panels, which were newly adorned with ribbed anodized-aluminum moldings.

Under the hood, the 283 engine was bored and stroked to bring its cylinder dimensions to 4.00 × 3.25 inches and displacement up to 327 cid. The small-block V-8 would continue in this form as the Corvette's main muscle through 1965. And muscular it was. Even the base 327 pumped out 250 bhp, and in top form could generate an explosive 360 bhp. The deeper-breathing 327 block necessitated a small but important change in the Rochester fuel-injection system, and heavier-duty bearings, larger ports, and a longer duration camshaft were fitted to all but the base 250-bhp engine. The solid-lifter Duntov cam was now specified for the most potent of the three carbureted engines, now up to 340 bhp (as well as continuing in the top fuelie). Both of these ran tight 11.25:1 compression, versus 10.5:1 for the base and step-up 300-bhp engines. The latter two were perhaps the best choices for all-around use, offering more than enough power plus the simplicity and easy maintenance of hydraulic tappets and a single four-barrel carburetor.

The 1962 Corvette was the last model year in its generation.
The 1962 Corvette was the last model year in its generation.

To that end, the troublesome twin four-barrel carbs were now gone altogether, replaced by big, single four-barrel Carters. Peak power in the top two versions came at a screaming 6000 rpm -- quite high for a pushrod powerplant -- while the 250- and 300-bhp versions ran out of steam at 4400 and 5000 rpm, respectively. The latter two were the only engines available with optional Powerglide, which was treated to a weight-saving aluminum case like the one given the four-speed manual the previous year.

The extra power and torque of the larger 327 V-8 translated into truly ferocious 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration: The four-speed/fuelie routinely hit the quarter-mile mark in 15 seconds or less at speeds of 100 mph or more in magazine tests. And with the appropriate options, the Corvette was still a winning production-class racer. Again in 1962, The Sports Car Club of America's A-Production champion was Dr. Dick Thompson. The Corvette was a serious competitor even with only minor modifications. Don Yenko, for example, took the SCCA's B-Production title that season.

The 1962 Corvette marked the end of an era for America's sports car, with the first completely new model in its history now a mere model year away. Still, the 1962 was a transitional model in that it introduced the venerable 327 V-8, which would be carried over to the new design. While the car harkened back to its roots as a 1953 introduction, thanks to Bill Mitchell, Zora Arkus-Duntov, and company, the 1962 was faster, handled better, looked handsomer, and was more civilized than any previous Corvette, but retained much of the charm of the original roadster concept. Sales on the year jumped by nearly 40 percent to 14,531 units, and the Corvette was firmly in the black as far as GM's bottom line was concerned.

And they weren't resting on their laurels, either. The first completely redesigned model in its history would soon come to be realized as the epitome of Chevy's plastic-bodied sports car, and the appellations "Corvette" and "Stingray" would become synonymous.

Learn about other Corvettes in this generation:

1953 Corvette
1954 Corvette
1955 Corvette
1956 Corvette
1957 Corvette
1958 Corvette
1959 Corvette
1960 Corvette
1961 Corvette
1962 Corvette

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See:

  • Corvettes: Learn about the history behind each model year and see Corvette photographs.
  • Corvette Specifications: Get key specifications, engine and transmission types, prices, and production totals.
  • Corvette Museum: The National Corvette Museum draws Corvette lovers from all over the world. Learn more about the museum.
  • Corvette Pictures: Find pictures of the hottest classic and current-year Corvettes.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide Corvette Reviews: Considering a Corvette purchase? See what Consumer Guide has to say.